12 Days left in MLB regular season, Around the horn in the NFL, Pelini apologizes for tirade, Mayweather/Canelo judge steps down, Ronaldo nets hat trick as Champions League opens + Tuesday Recap: Wednesday, September 18, 2013

MLB starts final playoff runs

Yesterday, SB3 reported on the Texas Rangers seventh straight loss. During the skid, the Rangers had not hit a homer or had even led at any point of those seven games. It took Ian Kinsler one pitch to change that Tuesday as the Texas second baseman homered on the first pitch to lead Texas to a 7-1 win over Tampa Bay. The Rangers are now tied with the Rays for the AL wild card spots. The homer was the 29th of Kinsler’s career leading off a game.

The Nats swept a double-header from the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday and are now just 5 1/2 games out of a wild card spot. Washington is 21-6 since August 20th, the best in baseball, but may be too little too late. The Braves magic number to clinch the NL East title is still four.

Mets rookie phenom Matt Harvey has opted for rehab rather than Tommy John surgery. Harvey will get treatment for approximately two months before beginning a light throwing program. Surgery is still an option should Harvey’s damaged right elbow not respond to therapy.

Jay Bruce hit a grand slam and knocked in five runs in the Reds 10-0 win over the Houston Astros. The tater put Bruce over 100 RBIs for the season and the loss was Houston’s 100th. It was the third straight year that the Astros have hit the century mark for losses.

Around the horn in the NFL

Hot off the ticker via the Cleveland Browns official twitter account ….. Brian Hoyer has been notified by the club that he will be the starting quarterback Sunday in their game at Minnesota. Hoyer replaces Brandon Weeden whi is out with a thumb injury.

Tom Brady and the offensively starved New England Patriots could have their leading receiver back this week. All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski has been upgraded to 50-50 for the Pats home game vs. Tampa Bay. “Gronk” has had four surgeries since breaking his forearm early in the 2012 season.

This also hot off the ticker ….. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got god new this morning when safety Dashon Goldson had his one game suspension overturned for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the Saints Darren Sproles. Goldson will pay a $100,000 fine rather than lose a $264,705 game check. Goldson was fined $30,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit vs. the Jets in Week I.

Bo Pelini apologizes to Husker fans for 2011 tirade

Emabttled Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is doing damage control for this profanity laced tirade that was recorded two years ago without his knowledge. In the rant, Pelini is highly critical of Nebraska fans. You have to wonder if this audio would have ever been leaked the Cornhuskers had beaten UCLA at home last Saturday. The Bruins came back from 21-3 down with 38 unanswered points in the 41-21 UCLA win.

Mayweather/Canelo judge steps down

C.J. Ross, the judge that inexplicably scored Saturday’s Mayweather/Alvarez fight a draw, will be taking some time off. The 22-year veteran who just happens to be a woman, was also on the wrong end of the controversial Manny Pacquiao/Tomothy Bradley decision 15 months ago. Most veteran observers at ringside had Alvarez winning a round or two at best. This person is clearly incompetent to judge fights at any level. If Ms. Ross could talk Adeleaide Byrd into taking some time (like 100 years) off, Las Vegas boxing would improve 10,000%.

Ronaldo’s three goals sparks Real in Champions League play

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick as Real Madrid spanked Galatasaray 6-1 in Istanbul as Champions League play opened. Ronaldo scored in the 63rd and 66th minutes plus added an “insurance” goal in stoppage time. Gareth Bale was held scoreless in CL debut for Real. Defending champion Bayern Munich opened it’s defense with a 3-0 whitewash of CSKA Moscow.

Free Play

(MLB) San Francisco (Cain) -141 over Mets (Harang) (Wednesday, September 18, 2013 7:10 PM EST)